A proposed class action alleges the infotainment system found in a number of 2019 and 2020 Chevrolet and GMC SUV models suffers from a defect that, among other issues, can cause the volume level to max out without input from a driver or passenger.
The 38-page lawsuit out of Florida federal court says the potentially dangerous IOR 7-Inch In-Dash Audio System defect—which can produce “sudden and unanticipated” noise and rearview camera, Bluetooth and blank-screen troubles while a vehicle is being driven—plagues the following Chevy and GMC models, and can cause “surprise, disorientation, and/or distraction” for a driver while increasing the possibility of a collision and injury:
2019-2020 Chevy Colorado
2019-2020 Chevy Equinox
2019 Chevy Silverado 1500
2019-2020 GMC Canyon
2019 GMC Sierra 1500
2020 Chevy Blazer
2020 Chevy Camaro
2020 Chevy Sonic
2020 Chevy Trax
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2500HD and 3500HD
2020 GMC Terrain
2020 GMC Sierra 1500, 2500HD and 3500HD.
According to the complaint, General Motors, despite marketing its SUVs as “safe and dependable,” has “long known” about the apparent infotainment system defect yet concealed the issue from drivers. To date, no fix exists for the problem, and GM has yet to identify a remedy for the defect, stating only that its engineers are analyzing the issue and instructing dealers to not replace any parts, the lawsuit says.
“As a result, owners and lessees of the Class Vehicles are unknowingly driving on roads and highways in potentially ticking time bombs while GM knowingly exposes its customers, from whom it made at [sic] millions of dollars from the sale of just the Class Vehicles, to the risk of grave physical harm and even death,” the lawsuit scathes.
The plaintiff asserts that drivers would not have bought or leased affected GMC and Chevy vehicles, or would have paid less to do so, had they known of the infotainment system defect.
In addition to the apparent volume control bug, the complaint alleges the Bluetooth communication system found in the above-listed vehicles similarly does not work as represented. When an incoming call is answered, the ringer “intermittently does not cease,” and instead remains at the same volume throughout the call and can be heard by both the caller and driver, according to the lawsuit. Even if a driver ends a call, and even after a vehicle is shut off, the ringing sound will persist due to the defect, the suit claims.
To end the ringing sound, a driver must, according to the plaintiff, “turn off the ignition, open and close the vehicle door, and reengage the ignition,” a process the lawsuit says is the only way to get the ringing sound to stop.
Still further, the IOR infotainment system defect renders the feature’s rearview display faulty in that it “intermittently displays the rearview . . . for 30-50 seconds after the vehicle is shifted” from reverse into drive and regardless of whether the car has traveled 10 meters or reached a speed of 10 miles per hour. The lawsuit argues the rearview display flaw “creates unnecessary confusion” for a driver given they may believe the vehicle is in reverse when it’s actually in drive.
“If the driver accelerates while in ‘Drive’ while believing the vehicle remains in reverse gear due to the display, it will increase the likelihood of collision or injury,” the suit reads, alleging the issue amounts to a violation of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rear visibility meters and miles-per-hour mandates for vehicles manufactured after May 1, 2018.
The plaintiff also claims she has had the infotainment system display suddenly go blank while she was operating her vehicle. Per the suit, this presents a hazard in that the infotainment system screen tends to display information necessary for a driver and is meant to remain on unless a car is put into reverse.
According to the complaint, defendant General Motors LLC has refused to repair or replace the supposedly defective in-dash infotainment system, and declined to reimburse drivers who paid out-of-pocket to address the problem. The lawsuit charges GM’s defective infotainment systems violate the express warranties offered by GMC and Chevy in that the defendant “cannot eliminate the dangerous and unanticipated volume spike, the persistent ringing, or the failure of the rearview image display to resolve per NHTSA mandates.”
To date, GM has received “thousands of warranty” requests related to the infotainment system defect, the suit says. The automaker has not recalled what the lawsuit calls “the dangerous and unusable” infotainment system, nor identified a fix, according to the case.
The lawsuit looks to cover all current and former owners and lessees of a vehicle model listed above that was bought or leased nationwide within the applicable statute of limitations period.
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